Nourished Journal

How Do I Know If I Have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

Sep 13, 2019

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Ever heard of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?  MCS as it is often referred to, is a hot topic in today’s health & wellbeing spotlight. Everyone from scientists to celebrities to health professionals seems to be weighing in with their opinion on the condition. So what exactly is MCS, and why all the controversy?

So what causes MCS?

The underlying cause of these reactions remains largely unknown, which is why scepticism still surrounds this condition. There are however a few theories that have been put up for consideration including dysfunction in the pathways between the smell receptors in the nose and limbic centre in the brain, altered metabolism, psychological conditioning and altered immune system function.

There are currently over 70 million unique chemical substances on the market, with an additional 15.000 new substances added every day. These chemicals are found in so many products we use daily including detergents and cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care products, textiles and furniture. A lack of understanding around the condition means these symptoms are often misdiagnosed leading to poor care and unnecessary suffering.

What can you do if you think you are chemically sensitive?

Unfortunately there are currently no standardised objective laboratory tests for MCS and so diagnosis comes down to 6 largely accepted subjective criteria:

  1. Symptoms are reproducible by exposure to the chemical

  2. The condition is chronic (ongoing for 3+ months)

  3. Low concentrations of the chemical can produce symptoms

  4. Avoidance of triggers leads to improvement or complete recovery

  5. The reactions appear to multiple unrelated triggers

  6. Symptoms involve multiple organ systems

Whilst there is currently no standardised treatment for MCS, try implementing these advocated treatment options:

-Avoid using chemicals in your home cleaning, personal care & makeup routine! There is an abundance of natural options around, check out our collection for a start.

-Ask your friends & colleagues to refrain from smoking or wearing synthetic perfumes, scented skin & body products. Use birthdays, Christmas & special events to gift your friends with natural alternatives. It’s a win-win for both of you!

-Make sure your workstation is in an area that is well ventilated, away from photocopiers, fax, and printers & if possible has access to a window that can be opened. And always think about WHY you are doing something. If it is fresh air you desire, why would you spray a chemical substance in the air? Open a window instead!  

-Purchase clothing from brands that are aware of MCS triggers and limit their use in production. Conscious fashion is a growing industry with many brands considering fair trade labour & sustainable, low-tox production.

-And finally, avoidance is key! Always read the ingredients label on ANYTHING you purchase and avoid known triggers.

Find out more 

For more information & support for suffers, visit





  • Martini, A., S. Iavicoli, and L. Corso. “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and the Workplace: Current Position and Need for an Occupational Health Surveillance Protocol.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2013 (2013): 351457. PMC. Web. 17 Dec. 2017.

  • National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) and the Office of Chemical Safety and Environmental Health (OCSEH) (2010) A Scientific Review Of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Identifying Key Research Needs

  • Wolf, C. Int. Arch Occup Environ Health (1994) 66: 213.